Self-defense spurs the Second Amendment Sisters

Juli Bednarzyk, a software consultant in Plainfield, Ill., grows animated as she describes the imaginary assault.

"From one end of the room to the other, it only takes an attacker about two seconds to get [to you]," she says. "I don't think I can take a key, get [the lock] off, and load the gun in two seconds."

A handgun owner and member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Ms. Bednarzyk believes passionately in "a civil right to self defense."

"If you are forced by law to lock up your gun, how can you defend yourself in the home?" she asks. Although she lives in a safe neighborhood, a loaded gun under her bed makes her feel secure. "It's better to have them and never need them," she says.

So in January, Bednarzyk became one of the founders of the Second Amendment Sisters (SAS), also sometimes described as "Moms 4 Guns," a Dallas-based group that will stage a countermarch to oppose the Million Mom March this Sunday.

The protest will stress that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is "non-negotiable," and would be dangerously infringed upon by additional gun control laws.

"The majority of our gun laws in this country violate the Constitution," says Carmen Amedori, who has pushed for concealed weapons laws and will speak at the march. Such laws have not been struck down because "a lot of judges are not familiar with the Constitution."

As for how to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands - criminals and kids - SAS supporters say the answer is simple: better enforcement of existing laws, and education.

"You teach the kids that guns are not toys. Just like knives," says Christy King, a Mechanicsville, Md., mother and SAS organizer. Mrs. King, a gun collector's daughter, said if she felt in danger she would not hesitate to keep a loaded weapon "in a closet or locked nightstand that I could easily access."

And the statistic about 12 children dying every day in America from gun violence, Bednarzyk says, is a distortion: "The vast majority are 17- to 19-year olds and a lot of that is gang violence."

The group doesn't shy away from using confrontational imagery to make its point. The SAS Web site, for example, features a photograph of a stern-faced woman with blunt-cut blonde hair pointing a handgun at the viewer. The caption reads: "As seen by a would-be rapist (for about 0.2 seconds)."

An SAS support group, Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland, features the words "Million Mom March" on a photograph of Adolf Hitler saluting before a group of adoring young women in white blouses. "These women also wanted gun control - they got it," it reads.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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